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New ban on rallies enacted just before November 1 reopening

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Rallies, like this one in August, face a new ban just in time for reopening. (via Facebook/Thikamporn Tamtiang)

In yet another timing coincidence, the Royal Gazette published new rules yesterday placing a ban on rallies and protests just before Thailand reopens to international tourism. As always, the orders were ostensibly put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country and to protect incoming tourists from any possible outbreak.

The new ban on rallies and similar activities that are deemed a Covid-19 risk takes effect on Monday. The order says the restrictions are needed to keep Covid-19 contained as the country reopens without quarantine to fully vaccinated travellers from 46 countries as well as expands its Sandbox programs to 17 provinces.

The order was issued as part of Section 9 of the Emergency Decree and signed into effect by the Chief of Defence Forces, as it is he who is responsible for solving security emergencies. This new order replaces the previous announcement that was enacted on September 30, once again just before another round of reopening to international travellers.

The new regulations say that rallies and other risky activities are prohibited unless specifically permitted by the authorities concerned, especially in the 17 provinces that are key to the November 1 reopening. Authorities say that it is a necessary step to protect tourism and begin to rehabilitate Thailand ailing economy as jobs in the tourism sector will finally start to come back, all of which could be placed in jeopardy with a super spreader event that creates a massive Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

Any event like a rally that is permitted to take place must follow strict guidelines that were laid out in previous orders, and any gathering that is considered to create a risk of spreading Covid-19 or creating more hardship for people already suffering from the pandemic is strictly prohibited in all of Thailand. Anyone convicted of violating this ban faces up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of up to 40,000 baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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